Let’s face it: who would have thought at Christmas last year that in 2020 many people would die in Europe due to a global pandemic and that we would be facing one of the biggest crises in many decades? This crisis affects all areas of our lives, including the European cultural heritage sector. Where do we see HERITAGE-PRO’s contribution to addressing the crisis? How has Corona influenced our project? What do we wish for 2021?
Thanks to digital networking, we were able to continue working on our project despite closed borders and travel restrictions and were highly motivated to achieve our results. We were able to finalise and publish our five interdisciplinary learning modules and successfully produce guidelines for practical application and a so-called “training kit” as a practical toolbox. These will be published on our website in January 2021 after a test run with experts from the European cultural heritage sector. This means that 3 of the 4 results of the HERITAGE-PRO project are almost complete. The final outcome is an interdisciplinary and international training camp for young professionals in April 2021. We are optimistic and hope that this camp can be held, taking into account the health of all participants. Registrations for the camp are still possible here!
Our contribution to the way out of the crisis is to support young cultural heritage professionals in particular in the first years of their professional life through interdisciplinary training. The pandemic has made it clear how important interdisciplinary qualifications are. Young professionals are particularly hard hit by the overall situation in the cultural heritage sector, because closed sites not only mean unemployment and short-time work for existing employees, but also the loss of new hires.
Finally, yet importantly, the friendship with our European partners was an incentive to continue to stand up for our common goal. The year 2020 has shown that we can only make real progress through friendly cooperation for the benefit of all people in Europe. After all, neither citizens nor European democracies benefit from closed borders, national go-it-alone and a lack of consideration for European neighbors.
The European cultural sector, like many other sectors, is facing great challenges due to the pandemic: With HERITAGE-PRO, we are convinced that we can offer young people, in particular, a way out of the crisis and a good start to their first professional years through improved training and that we can play our part in the post-crisis period. After all, our common cultural heritage has connected European countries across borders for many centuries.
However, an end-of-the-year review of 2020 needs a look at the consequences of the pandemic. By mid-December 2020, about 480,000 people have died in Europe due to COVID-19 over 1.7 million people died worldwide. Many families will miss their loved ones at Christmas and will never be able to celebrate with them again. Others worry about their future because they face an existential crisis, might lose jobs and cannot enjoy Christmas this year. We have to face up to this and we must not forget these people.
By 2021, we hope that Europe will overcome this pandemic in cooperation and emerge from it stronger than before so that people can once again look into the future with optimism. Furthermore, we as a team hope that after almost 1 ½ years without a face-to-face project meeting, we will be able to see our European project partners again outside the digital world in order to successfully complete our European ERASMUS+ project HERITAGE-PRO.
Last but not least, we wish everyone active in heritage preservation lots of strength, health, a Merry Christmas, and, despite everything, a Happy New Year 2021!
Your HERITAGE-PRO team
Author of this blog: Sascha Kolhey / Entwicklungsagentu Rheinland-Pfalz
(picture credits: Pixabay CC)